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Ethical sourcing

Ethical sourcing is about minimising the potential for labour and human rights issues in our supply chains.

Our Ethical Sourcing Policy

Our Ethical Sourcing Policy and Ethical Sourcing Supplier Requirements are based primarily on the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions. They focus on:

  • Legal requirements
  • Forced or bonded labour
  • Child labour
  • Illegal labour
  • Harsh or inhumane treatment
  • Business integrity
  • Wages and benefits
  • Working hours
  • Freedom of association
  • Sub-contracting and supply chain
  • Safe working conditions
  • Discrimination
  • Regular employment


The Ethical Sourcing Policy applies to all Coles Brand product, fresh produce and meat. Our suppliers agree to meet our policy and standards as part of their contract terms and conditions. If a supplier cannot demonstrate a commitment to our Ethical Sourcing Policy, we reserve the right to terminate its trading agreement.

In 2015, we signed the Australian Business Pledge against Forced Labour, an industry-led initiative to end forced labour. The Pledge aligns with our Ethical Sourcing Policy.

Managing ethical sourcing

Coles was the first major Australian supermarket chain to adopt the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX), a global ethical supply chain management platform, in 2016.


We directly monitor ethical sourcing risk and compliance with our Ethical Sourcing Policy. All direct supplier sites need to be registered on SEDEX. Direct supplier sites includes manufacturing sites for finished products, as well as those that process (or harvest) and pack to supply directly to Coles.

SEDEX is an internationally recognised platform that assesses risk in the supply chain. Coles Brand product, fresh produce and meat suppliers complete a comprehensive risk assessment questionnaire and based on this, they are rated as low, medium or high risk. Medium and high risk sites are then required to be audited by an independent external provider within time frames specified by Coles which vary depending on peak times for each industry. For example, our expectation for fresh produce is that audits would take place during harvest season when workers are on site.

We also carry out audits throughout our supply chains to confirm risk assessments, randomly check audit outcomes and respond to specific issues. Coles uses qualified independent auditors for these direct audits.

We also work with our apparel suppliers to build strong relationships throughout our supply chain. The names and locations of the factories producing our Mix clothing range are available here.

Coles supply chain workers hotline

Coles is committed to ensuring that workers in our supply chains are treated fairly. As part of this commitment, in 2015 we set up the Coles Wages and Conditions Hotline for workers in our supply chains, including farms, factories and service providers.

In Australia, employees who work for a Coles supplier can call 1300 532 515 between 8am-8pm, seven days a week to understand more about their conditions of employment or to report unfair labour practices.

For workers where English is not a first language, we have an email facility at where workers can provide their telephone number, preferred language and a brief description of their concerns so that any issues can be addressed by Coles or the relevant authority.

We also have made a poster available to Coles Brand fresh produce and meat processing sites providing details of the hotline.